Ipsos Global Trends 2017 – the biggest survey of its kind

Global Trends 2017 is here and it is bigger than ever, based on 18,000 interviews across 23 countries.

The author(s)
  • Ben Page CEO, Ipsos
Get in touch

Global Trends 2017 is here and it is bigger than ever, based on 18,000 interviews across 23 countries. We see eight new trends: Crisis of the Elites, Generation Strains, the Search for Simplicity and Control, Uncertainty is the New Normal, the Rise and Rise of Tradition, The Optimism Divide, The Battle for Attention and A Healthier World.

It provides a unique snapshot of the world today and helps explain trends in business, society and politics. The best way to really understand the data is to access the charts via the Ipsos Global Trends 2017 website, but here are a few highlights to give you an idea of what you might find amongst the 400 questions asked.

What we think in Britain…

We are the most pessimistic country on Earth when it comes to the future of our healthcare, with only 8% of British respondents feeling that the quality of their healthcare will improve in the coming years, compared to 29% globally. 

When it comes to our careers and our views on success, we are less materialistic than you might expect, with just 24% of Britons measuring their success by the things they own and only 33% of us thinking that fulfilment in life is achieving a prominent position in your career.  85% of respondents in Britain think it is more important to have a good work-life balance than to have a successful career, a massive difference from emerging markets.

When we asked respondents to compare their lives against their parents’ we found that the British are gloomy about their lives compared to the previous generation.  Only one in ten (11%) of us think our childrens’ chances of owning their own home will be better than their parents’ generation, putting us at the very bottom of the table globally.  Just 13% of us think we will be safer from crime or harm, 19% think we will be able to live comfortably when we retire from work and 14% think we are more likely to have a secure job.

Britons have a low level of trust in business in general at 31%, with only South Korea (28%) and France (27%) less trusting, and only a quarter (24%) of Britons trusting business leaders to tell the truth.  We are also the least likely in the world to feel that we can trust businesses to improve the economic and social conditions of our community: just 32% of us agree.

And here are a few more quick facts about Great Britain…

  • Britons are the least likely to think that the world is changing too fast, despite 60% of us agreeing with this statement
  • 49% of us feel less connected with people in our country than we did 10 years ago
  • 30% of us feel our religion/faith is important to us, compared to 53% globally.  We are joined at the bottom of the table by Sweden (29%), Belgium (27%) and Japan (22%)
  • 79% of Britons think we are more negative about immigrants than we were a few years ago
  • 70% of us think we need modern technology because only this can solve future problems
  • 41% of Britons fear that technological progress is destroying our lives, up from 31% in 2014

Quick facts on what people think globally…


  • 76% of people globally feel that their economies are rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful
  • The world is considered an increasingly dangerous place by 82% of respondents
  • 79% of people globally think the world is changing too fast
  • 74% of us globally believe gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own lives as they wish
  • 57% of respondents think things would be better if more women held positions with responsibilities in government and country
  • The role of women in society is to be good mothers and wives, according to 37% of the global population
  • 55% of respondents think globalisation is good for their country, but western Europe, including Britain, France and Spain, are the most pessimistic about globalisation
  • Russians are the least satisfied with their standard of living out of all populations surveyed, and the least likely to be satisfied with what they have achieved in life
  • 69% of people globally feel that we need guides and mentors more than politicians


  • 47% of people globally say that scientists don’t really know what they are talking about on environmental issues
  • 78% of people globally think we are heading towards an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly

Brands and products

  • 68% of people believe that the most successful brands will be those that make the most positive contribution to society beyond just providing good services and products
  • 45% of people don’t care if a brand is ethically or socially responsible – they just want them to make good products
  • Globally, 67% of people agree that it has become more important that the brands they choose make a positive contribution to society
  • 69% of people globally say supermarkets can be trusted to be fair; only 36% say their own government can be similarly trusted
  • 76% of people globally would try a product or service if it got good reviews


  • Over half of respondents (54%) say they couldn’t live without their smartphone
  • Half of the global population fear that technological progress is destroying our lives.  Concern is higher, at 58%, in the emerging markets, than in the established markets (45%)
  • The younger generations are more concerned about technological progress: Generation Z has seen a 13 percentage point increase over the last two years from 37% to 50%

Health and wellbeing

  • 77% of respondents agree that they would like more control over decisions about my health
  • Globally, 29% of people expect the quality of healthcare that they have access to locally to improve in the coming years.  In Britain only 8% of people expect to see an improvement and 47% of people expect to see it get worse
  • 80% of people globally think that eating right is the most important of all the things we can do to maintain good health


  • This is what people think about Millennials: 54% think they are tech savvy, 45% materialistic and 33% arrogant – and even the Millennials agree with these statements!

Ben Page, chief executive of  Ipsos says:

“What this latest Global Trends survey should remind us is that despite increasing longevity, rising incomes in emerging markets, more connectivity, computing power and storage than we could ever have imagined, the human condition is one of anxiety and striving for more.  There is a growing gulf between the generations in terms of opportunities, there is a sense of pessimism about the future in western Europe and there are increasing demands on our time leading to a battle for attention.  Understanding the manifestations of that seems ever more vital for business and politicians.

In Britain we are generally feeling pretty gloomy at the moment.  We are the most pessimistic country in the world when it comes to the future of our healthcare – less than one in ten (8%) think we will see the quality of healthcare in Britain improve in the coming years.  We are also the least likely to think our chances of owning our own homes is better than our parents and our trust in business is at rock bottom. The good news is that we continue to demonstrate that on a whole we are a liberal and progressive country.“

Technical Notes

The 2017 Global Trends Survey is an Ipsos survey conducted with 18,180 adults aged 16-64 (in the US and Canada 18-64) between 12 September and 11 October 2016. This is the second wave of the Global Trends Survey – a previous version was run in 2013 with 20 countries and the report was published in 2014.

The survey was carried out online using the Ipsos Online Panel System in 23 countries -Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. The 2014 wave covered the same countries, except for Indonesia, Mexico and Peru.

Approximately 1000+ individuals were surveyed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain and the United States of America.  Approximately 500+ individuals were surveyed in Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey.

In established markets with a higher level of internet penetration (more than 60% online), the results can be taken as representative of the general working age population. However, in emerging markets where internet penetration is lower, the results should be viewed as representative of a more urban, affluent and ‘connected’ population.

The results are weighted to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.  Total global data have not been weighted by population size, but are simply a country average.

Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of don’t knows or not stated responses. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

The author(s)
  • Ben Page CEO, Ipsos

More insights about Public Sector